Volleyball gears up for NESCAC tournament with 3-0 win over Trinity on Senior Day

Lauren Brough (left) was one of four seniors honored on Senior Day, a 3-0 Bates win over Trinity on Saturday, October 27, 2018. (File photo by Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College volleyball team wrapped up its best regular season in nearly a decade with a 3-0 (25-10, 25-16, 25-14) win over Trinity Saturday afternoon at Alumni Gymnasium. 

The Bobcats (14-8, 4-6 NESCAC) earned the seventh seed in the upcoming NESCAC tournament with the victory. Bates will take on second seed Wesleyan on the campus of host Bowdoin College this Friday at 5pm. It is the fourth straight year the Bobcats have qualified for the NESCAC tournament under head coach Melissa DeRan. This year's record of 14-8 is Bates' first winning season since the Bobcats went 16-9 in 2009. 

The Bobcats displayed a very balanced attack against the Bantams (13-10, 2-8 NESCAC) on Saturday. Senior Claire Naughton (Darien, Conn.), junior Taylor Stafford-Smith (Calabasas, Calif.) and sophomore Delaney Mayfield (Santa Barbara, Calif.) recorded seven kills apiece for the Bobcats, with Naughton tallying six service aces and five blocks. Junior captain Julia Panepinto (Buffalo, N.Y.) dished out a match-high 27 assists and added 12 digs. Junior captain Gabi Eustache (New York, N.Y.) recorded a match-high 17 digs to go along with a pair of service aces. 

For the Bantams, Rachel Underwood led all players with eight kills. Locke Luhnow tallied 12 assists and Ali Odermann recorded 11 digs.

Up 11-8 in the first set, Bates took command by going on a 9-0 run. Trinity called a pair of timeouts during the run to no avail. Stafford-Smith and Naughton recorded two kills apiece during the run.

After the Bantams recorded two straight points, the Bobcats went on a 5-0 run to wrap up the set. 

Trinity led 11-9 in the second set before Bates went on a 6-0 run to grab the lead for good. Up 17-15, a 7-0 Bobcat run gave Bates a commanding lead and Panepinto finished off the 25-16 win with a kill.

With the score tied at 11 in the third set, the Bobcats really turned up the intensity, scoring 12 straight points to go up 23-11. Naughton's back-to-back service aces set the tone and the Bobcats surged to victory. 

Appropriately enough on Senior Day, senior Lauren Brough (Killingworth, Conn.) clinched the match with a kill. 

Brough, Naughton, Reilly Murphy (Marshfield, Mass.), and Cassidy Martin (Wilmington, Del.) were all honored for their contributions to the program. 

And now the Bobcats get a chance to make noise in the NESCAC tournament. The volleyball team is looking for its first win in the tournament since 2003.